Other practices advertise ‘Sedation’. Is this the same as what your practice does?
No. Many practices offer Nitrous Oxide (happy gas) or a green inhaler called Penthrox (methoxyflurane). Both of these agents are for anxiety and pain reduction, and do not provide sedation when used by themselves without any other form of medications. Penthrox is typically used in acute trauma by Ambulance personnel but when used regularly or in high doses has been associated with kidney toxicity and an unacceptable level of complications. We therefore do not use or recommend Penthrox for use in a dental practice.
If a dental practice offers conscious sedation, then they must by law comply with all of the requirements of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. Currently we are the only practice in Hobart able to offer this high level of service.
My dentist has prescribed me a tablet to relax me before dental treatment. Is this what you offer as ‘oral sedation’?
No. The effects of oral anti-anxiety tablets such as Valium are highly variable between different people and only offer ‘anxiety reduction’, not sedation. We use an oral pre-medication in liquid form that is only permitted to be used by registered Conscious Sedation Practitioners. It is much more potent than a tablet and people become quite sleepy and do not remember much of the procedure. It is therefore a very effective method of treating people who have mild to moderate anxiety. When used in conjunction with nitrous oxide, often a similar level of sedation can be achieved to intravenous sedation so it is well suited to short procedures.
How do I know if I am a candidate for conscious sedation?
If you have anxiety or fear about going to the dentist, you are a candidate for sedation. If you have a fear of pain, have had a traumatic dental experience in the past, or the sounds and smells of a dental office make you nauseous, then sedation dentistry can certainly help you overcome your anxiety.
Any person with a severe gag reflex or very sensitive teeth may also be suitable for sedation. In general any person who does not suffer from significant illness or disease is able to have a conscious sedation procedure performed safely and with minimal risk.
A very thorough assessment of your suitability is conducted during the consultation appointment and all options for treatment are discussed in detail before any treatment is performed.
Will I be unconscious?
Many people confuse being unconscious with a general anaesthetic and being asleep. You will be in a deep state of relaxation during your treatment, and for most people, there is no memory of the procedure. During conscious sedation you will still be able to breathe on your own and communicate, but you will not feel any pain or anxiety.
For how long will I be sedated?
Most sedation procedures last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The actual feeling of sleepiness however can last from 2 – 6 hours depending on the strength of sedative you are given, and how long your procedure takes.
Will I be monitored?
Yes, at all times during your sedation Dr Eldridge and a Registered Nurse will be with you. During the entire sedation procedure we monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing, to make sure they remain at a normal level.
Are there any long term effects of sedation?
No. You will feel a little sleepy and “out of it” after some forms of sedation, but typically after a few hours you will feel completely normal again. A responsible person will need to drive you home from your appointment and stay with you for the remainder of the day.
What procedures can be performed under sedation?
Just about any dental and oral surgical procedure can be performed with sedation. The sedation is not for the procedure itself, but to treat the anxiety, fear, and phobia that accompanies the procedure.
How many appointments will I need to complete my dental work?
The amount of dental treatment required will dictate how many appointments are needed, but in most cases it only takes two. The first appointment will be a consultation to thoroughly discuss your medical history and make sure you are a candidate for sedation. The next appointment will be scheduled to perform the necessary dental and / or oral surgery procedures. We always try to complete all the required dental treatment in the one session if possible.
Will my insurance cover sedation?
In most cases private health insurance covers a portion of the sedation cost. However, we are certainly seeing insurance premiums increase whilst rebate payments decrease, and it appears to be getting worse. We always provide you a detailed treatment plan and estimate of fees so that you are able to check with your health insurer what the out-of-pocket expenses before proceeding with treatment.
Do I need a referral to attend your practice for Oral Surgery or Implant treatment?
No. All new patients are very welcome at all times. We will require an up-to-date medical and medication history however, that we can easily obtain from your current GP. A medical history form will also be provided to you on the day of your appointment to allow us to ensure that we have the most current information on your health as possible. Or you can download a medical history form and bring it to your appointment. The form can also be scanned and emailed to us in preparation for the appointment.
Please feel free to contact our rooms at any time by telephone or email should you have any further questions.